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Second-Order Immigration Implications You Should Think About

Bridge Team Member

Your organization’s corporate immigration process runs like a well-oiled machine and you’re attracting top talent from around the world. Additionally, your team has invested in data management and the documentation is secure and centralized making processing sponsorships a breeze.

According to Bill Boulding, Dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and reported on by Forbes, “Talent will be the most important factor in determining who wins and loses economically in the future. The issues we are raising are important not just in providing the opportunity to cross borders for education but also to foster robust and vibrant national economic activity.”

Your organization’s corporate immigration policy has likely set you up for success in this growing global economy. However, you now need to ensure talent who successfully obtained a sponsorship or requires future sponsorship in any capacity is not at risk of deportation. 

Don’t Lose Sight of Second-Order Immigration Implications

When it comes to immigration law, first-order issues dictate the goals a country has regarding the number of immigrants allowed into a country annually as well as the type. Second-order design issues concern the policies that are used to implement these first-order policy goals. 

First Order Immigration Policies

U.S. immigration law is complex. Immigration law in the United States centers around the following principles: unifying families, bringing immigrants into the country with highly valuable skills, and protecting refugees.

The first-order policy covers three dimensions of immigration into the United States:

  1. The number of immigrants admitted: The United States grants up to 675,000 permanent immigrant visas each year.
  2. The type of immigrants admitted: The United States generally wants to admit immigrants with skills that are valuable to the U.S. economy.
  3. The terms of admissions: Immigrants typically come to the United States on a work visa but after several years, depending on the visa, can apply for permanent residency.

Second-Order Institutional Design

The second-order institutional design of immigration sorts applicants and visa holders alike into three categories: admissible, inadmissible, and deportable.

People Teams, who have worked to streamline their immigration processes and brought in “admissible” talent, now need to ensure this talent is not deportable.

Most people know that committing a serious crime can result in deportation, but many other seemingly innocuous “crimes” can also lead to deportation, such as failing to inform immigration authorities of an address change or traveling outside of the United States for over 180 days.

According to NPR, this has become a serious issue in 2021 as individuals who left The United States during the pandemic are now experiencing problems upon re-entry.

People Teams can take steps to utilize their centralized data storage system to help mitigate such risks.

Tips for Complying with Second-Order Design

People Teams have the added responsibility of not only having to help their employees navigate the corporate immigration process but also to ensure these same employees avoid deportation.

Routine Internal Audits

Routine internal audits are necessary for every People Team to ensure that employee information is secure and all internal processes are compliant with government regulations. These audits give insight into where improvement is needed.

During an internal audit, a skilled People professional will observe the day-to-day workflow, take notes, review documents, and interview employees. Experts recommend bringing in a third-party auditor to maintain objectivity. Auditors might also test employees’ knowledge of company procedures, policy standards, and compliance rules.

Implementing such a routine can ensure your People Team and various stakeholders (like Talent Teams and Executives) are continuously operating at peak performance. 

Educational Sessions for Employees

Regular educational sessions for employees currently working through the immigration process and those who have work visas or permanent residence are a great way to keep everyone up to date on compliance updates. 

A collaborative setting can encourage employees working through the process to offer support to one another. Such sessions could cover topics such as “Proper Notification Process for Address Changes,” “How to Stay Compliant While Traveling,” and “Introduction to Familial Sponsorship.”

Survey immigrant employees for ideas for educational sessions that would be the most beneficial. You may learn about unique issues these employees are facing.

As a member of your organization’s People Team, it is your responsibility to educate employees who hold work visas about immigration law and the importance of compliance. You don’t want an accidental slip-up to result in losing talent to the deportation process or reflecting on the employee experience long-term. 


Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a Bridge-affiliated partner attorney or another qualified legal professional.


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